Monday March 23rd, 2009

SI.com caught up with Seth Davis, who's serving as a CBS studio analyst during the tournament, to get his impressions of Sunday's first-round action.

SI.com: What did you think about Syracuse today?

Seth Davis: Syracuse was good -- that is why I picked them to go to the Elite Eight, and I still pick them to beat Oklahoma. At this point in the season, it's not about having the most talent, it's about being the best team and they have a great point guard and a great glue guy in Paul Harris. They also have great guys inside who aren't going to kill you in scoring, but you're not going to kill them, either. Arizona State's main weakness is that besides Jeff Pendergraph, they're weak inside and he fouled out with eight minutes to play. Syracuse on the other hand, is a great all-around team -- if they play against a team that's strong inside, Syracuse is great on the perimeter and can just kick it out to Jonny Flynn and he'll have a 20-point game.

SI.com: Arizona's still alive -- did they justify their tournament berth?

S.D.: I'm not a big believer that your performance in the tournament justifies your berth -- look at Wake Forest. But Arizona should feel good about what they've done. When they play at a high level, they're tough to beat and as for Cleveland State, last time I talked about how they made a lot of shots both against Butler in the Horizon League championship and against Wake Forest in the tournament to win, and today they were 3-for-23 from three-point range, so that's a credit to Arizona's defense today.

SI.com: How far are they going to go now?

S.D.: I like Louisville to beat Arizona in the Sweet 16, but I think they'll compete and I think they'll be right there in the end. Louisville can make shots and Louisville has a much better inside game than Cleveland State does. Samardo Samuels is exactly the kind of player that Cleveland State doesn't have, so that's going to be a different ballgame for them. Arizona's very entertaining, and if you think about the circumstances that Russ Pennell took over in, he overcame a lot of adversity and now they're playing in the Sweet 16 of the tournament -- that's a lot of credit to him and his ability to get those boys to believe in him.

SI.com: What about Louisville today -- are they going to bust my bracket too?

S.D.: Hey man, it's the NCAA tournament. Look at Pitt, look at Duke. If you think the second round is easy, it's anything but -- Memphis and Villanova are the only two that routed. Nothing comes easy. Siena is a really, really good basketball team and they are capable of beating anyone in this tournament. Louisville just played well and they did well to win the game. Louisville doesn't have a point guard -- they run their offense with their forwards and that's not a conventional way to run it. Terrence Williams isn't the player of the year, but he might be the most valuable player with what he's done in this tournament. Today, he had 24 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two steals.

SI.com: And he had a great move when he grabbed the cameraman's camera after falling on it ...

S.D.: He's got a great personality and plays with such joy, he's a great asset to college basketball. I'm really happy for him -- he was a huge recruit out of high school, and didn't blossom immediately, but matured and got better over the past four years and that's what college is supposed to be about -- you're supposed to grow up.

SI.com: What about Pitt today?

S.D.: During the last few weeks, Sam Young has been maybe the best player in college basketball. He's been unbelievable ... it wasn't easy for them today and he ended up with 32 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks -- he had a phenomenal all-around floor game. He's a great defensive player and he's just all-around smart. Xavier's a great matchup because they don't really pressure the ball -- which Pittsburgh really doesn't like -- it's more half-court pressure, but Pitt's not making it look easy.

SI.com: What game are you most looking forward to in the Sweet 16?

S.D.: There's a lot of great games, but it's pretty chalky outside of Arizona and Purdue -- they're the only ones out of the top four who are in the Sweet 16. Besides that, it's all chalk all the time. For sheer entertainment, I like Villanova-Duke, if you like good guard play, that's the one to watch. A very underrated game is Missouri and Memphis -- they're two basketball teams who love end-to-end pressure. No matter what, it's a very high-powered Sweet 16.

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